Rod Christopher Godwin Jr. is an American football wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Penn State and was drafted by the Buccaneers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
On January 5, 2017, Godwin announced via his Twitter that he decided to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, forgoing his final year of eligibility at Penn State.
In March 2017, Godwin performed well at the 2017 NFL Combine, having one of the top vertical jumps and 40-yard dash time among wide receivers. Additionally, he was the top performer in both the bench press with 19 reps and 20-yard shuttle with 4 flat. Due to his success at the combine, he was interviewed there by multiple teams including the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, among others.
2017 season: Rookie year
Godwin was selected by the Buccaneers in the third round with the 84th overall pick in the draft. During Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings, he had his first three career receptions, which went for 44 yards in the 34–17 loss. Due to the likes of DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, in the first eight weeks of 2017, Godwin had just seven receptions on ten targets. However, his workload picked up in the final eight weeks. During Week 10, he had 68 yards on five receptions in a win 15–10 against the New York Jets and in Week 14, he had the same numbers in a 24–21 loss to the Detroit Lions. In the regular season finale against the New Orleans Saints, Godwin caught nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown as the Buccaneers won 31–24, earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Godwin finished his rookie year with 34 receptions for 525 yards and one touchdown.
Godwin started the 2018 season off strong with a receiving touchdown in the first three games of the season against the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers. During Week 10 against the Washington Redskins, he had seven receptions for 103 yards in a 16–3 loss. In Week 13, he had five receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in a 24–17 victory over the Carolina Panthers. He closed out the regular season strong with six receptions for 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17.
Godwin finished his second season with 59 receptions for 842 yards and seven touchdowns.
In the season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers, Godwin caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown in the 31–17 loss. In the next game against the Carolina Panthers, he caught eight passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in the 20–14 road victory. Two weeks later against the Los Angeles Rams, he recorded a career-high 12 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns as the Buccaneers defeated the Rams on the road 55–40. Godwin followed up his big performance in the next game against the New Orleans Saints, catching seven passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a 31–24 road loss. In the next game against the Panthers in London, he caught ten passes for 151 yards in the 37–26 loss. During Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons, Godwin recorded a career long 71-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jameis Winston in route to a career-best 184 yards and two touchdowns in a 35–22 road victory. With that performance, Godwin recorded his first season with at least 1,000 receiving yards. Godwin was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week due to his spectacular performance. In Week 15, during a 38–17 win against the Detroit Lions, Godwin caught five passes for 121 yards but injured his hamstring during the third quarter and left the game. On December 17, 2019, Godwin was selected to the 2020 Pro Bowl, the first of his career.
Godwin finished his third season setting new career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns with 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns. He was ranked 38th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2020.
For the 2020 season, Godwin gave up his jersey number 12 to new teammate Tom Brady and switched to number 14.
During the season-opener against the New Orleans Saints, Godwin recorded six receptions for 79 yards but suffered a concussion from a hit by safety D. J. Swearinger which forced him to exit the eventual 34-23 road loss and miss the following week. Godwin returned in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos, in which he recorded five receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown, his first from new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. However, Godwin left the eventual 28-10 road victory with a hamstring injury. He ended up missing the next two games. During a Week 8 45-20 road victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, Godwin recorded nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown but suffered a fracture to his left index finger while making the touchdown catch. He underwent surgery two days later and would miss the next game. During Week 12, Godwin hauled in 8 of 9 targets for 97 yards as the Buccaneers narrowly lost, 27–24, to their eventual Super Bowl opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs. During a Week 16 47–7 road victory over the Detroit Lions, he recorded five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. In the regular-season finale against the Atlanta Falcons, Godwin recorded five catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the 44–27 victory.
Godwin finished the regular season with 65 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games and starts. He was ranked 81st by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2021.
In the Wild Card Round of the 2020–21 NFL playoffs against the Washington Football Team, Godwin recorded five catches for 79 yards and his first playoff touchdown during the 31–23 road victory. During the Divisional Round against the Saints, he was held to four catches for 34 yards in a 30–20 road victory. In the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, Godwin recorded five catches for 110 yards and a six-yard rush as the Buccaneers defeated the Packers on the road by a score of 31–26 to advance to Super Bowl LV. During the Super Bowl, he recorded two catches for nine yards as the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs by a score of 31-9.
On March 9, 2021, the Buccaneers placed the franchise tag (worth $15.9 million) on Godwin, which he signed on March 18.
During the season-opening 31–29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Godwin recorded nine catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, including a critical 24–yard reception on Tampa's final offensive possession to put them within range for kicker Ryan Succop to kick a game-winning 36–yard field goal. In the next game against the Atlanta Falcons, Godwin recorded four receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown as the Buccaneers won by a score of 48-25. The following week against the Los Angeles Rams, Godwin had six receptions for 74 yards as well as a carry for two yards and his first career rushing touchdown. During a Week 7 38–3 victory over the Chicago Bears, he recorded eight receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. In the next game against the New Orleans Saints, Godwin recorded eight receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown during the 36-27 road loss. During a Week 11 30–10 victory over the New York Giants, Godwin recorded six receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown to go along with a seven-yard carry. During a Week 13 30–17 road victory over the Falcons, Godwin recorded a career-best and franchise record-setting 15 receptions for 143 yards as well as a nine-yard carry.
On December 19, 2021, Godwin tore his ACL and sprained his MCL in the Buccaneers' Week 15 9-0 shutout loss against the New Orleans Saints, prematurely ending his season. Godwin finished the season with 98 catches for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns to go along with four carries for 21 yards and a touchdown.
On March 9, 2022, the Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on Godwin for the second consecutive season. A week later, Godwin and the Buccaneers agreed to a three-year deal worth $60 million, with $40 million guaranteed at signing.